Skip to main content

Full text of "The Norwegian account of King Haco's expedition against Scotland, A. D. MCCLXIII"

See other formats


This is a digital copy of a book that was preserved for generations on library shelves before it was carefully scanned by Google as part of a project 

to make the world's books discoverable online. 

It has survived long enough for the copyright to expire and the book to enter the public domain. A public domain book is one that was never subject 

to copyright or whose legal copyright term has expired. Whether a book is in the public domain may vary country to country. Public domain books 

are our gateways to the past, representing a wealth of history, culture and knowledge that's often difficult to discover. 

Marks, notations and other maiginalia present in the original volume will appear in this file - a reminder of this book's long journey from the 

publisher to a library and finally to you. 

Usage guidelines 

Google is proud to partner with libraries to digitize public domain materials and make them widely accessible. Public domain books belong to the 
public and we are merely their custodians. Nevertheless, this work is expensive, so in order to keep providing tliis resource, we liave taken steps to 
prevent abuse by commercial parties, including placing technical restrictions on automated querying. 
We also ask that you: 

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Google Book Search for use by individuals, and we request that you use these files for 
personal, non-commercial purposes. 

+ Refrain fivm automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort to Google's system: If you are conducting research on machine 
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the 
use of public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help. 

+ Maintain attributionTht GoogXt "watermark" you see on each file is essential for in forming people about this project and helping them find 
additional materials through Google Book Search. Please do not remove it. 

+ Keep it legal Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just 
because we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States, that the work is also in the public domain for users in other 
countries. Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of 
any specific book is allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Google Book Search means it can be used in any manner 
anywhere in the world. Copyright infringement liabili^ can be quite severe. 

About Google Book Search 

Google's mission is to organize the world's information and to make it universally accessible and useful. Google Book Search helps readers 
discover the world's books while helping authors and publishers reach new audiences. You can search through the full text of this book on the web 

at |http: //books .google .com/I 


Jgariiattr ffiollese iMsxttti 1 






Dorweaian Hccount 


Kii\^ Skdo'^ S<Xf)editioii 




Literally translated from the original Icektudic 
of the Flateyan and Frisian MSS, 





F.S.A. (Scot.) 


CvT S 1885 


IRorweaian Bccount 


K\^^ Sk^io'j^ S<X|)edition. 

6 Introduction. 

which relate to this interesting episode, was really 
unpardonable; and, therefore, I trust that my 
efforts, however poor, to supply the deficiency, 
may prove useful to all who are interested in the 
History and Archaeology of Scotland. 

Such Notes as I have thought it necessary to 
add are indicated by the initiab '* £. G."; all 
others are Mr. Johnstone's own. 


Edinburgh, i4tk Feb, i88j. 


The Editor, from some particular advantages he 
enjoyed, was encouraged to collect such inedited 
fragments as might elucidate ancient history. 

He, lately, published "Anecdotes of Olave the 
Black, King of Man;" and now lays before the 
learned the Norw^ian account of Haco's cele- 
brated expedition against Scotland. 

It was the Editor's intention to have given a 
succinct detail of the descents made by the 
northern nations upon the British Isles, but an 
increase of materials induced him to reserve that 
subject for a future work. At present, therefore, 
he thinks it sufficient to premise that the iSbudae 
were, long, the cause of much dispute between 

8 Preface. 

various kingdoms. They seemed naturally con- 
nected with Scotland ; but the superior navies of 
Lochlin rendered them liable to impressions from 
that quarter. 

The situation of the Kings of the Isles was 
peculiarly delicate ; for, ^ough t{ieir territories 
were extensive, yet they were by no means a 
match for the neighbouring States. On this 
account all^^ce was extorted from them by 
different sovereigns. The Hebridian princes con- 
sidered this involuntary homage, as, at least, 
implying protection : andr when that was not 
afforded) tliey thovight themselves justified in 
fonning new OHWexioas more oonducive to their 

The Alexanders of Scotjiand having united 
Galloway, then a powetfol maritime ^tate, to 
their dominions, began to think of measures ibr 
obtaining a permament possession of the Hebrides 
by expelling the Norwegians. The preparatory, 
steps they took were first to secure the Somerled 
family, and next to gain over the msular Chief- 
tains. Habo was no less earnest to attach every 
person of consequence to his party. He gAvp his 

Preface. 9 

daughter in marriage to Harald, King of Man ; 
and, on different occasions, entertained at his 
Court King John, Gilchrist, Dugall the son of. 
Rudri,' Magnus Earl of Orkney, Simon Bishop of 
the Sudoreys, and the Abbot of Icolmkil. 

All this, however, did not effectually conciliate 
the Somerlidian tribe. The Norwegian monarch, 
disappointed in his negociations, had recourse to 
the sword, and sailed with a fleet, which both the 
Sturlunga-saga and the Flateyan annals represent 
as the most formidable that ever left the ports of 

It would be improper for the Editor to draw 
any comparison between the Scottish and Nor- 
wegian narratives ; he, therefore, leaves it to the 
discernment of the reader to fix what medium he 
thinks reasonable. 

The Flateyan and Frisian are the principal 
MSS. now extant, that contain the life of Haco 
the Aged. The first belongs to the library of His 
Danish Majesty, the latter is deposited in the 

'(Dugald M'Rory). In Gaelic, «Ruadh Righ," 
is the red king; whence Roderick, and in Scotch 
parlance, Rory. (Note to Tennent't Translation 
from Dtt Ncrske Folks Histerit, p. 2 ). — £. G. 


10 Prefacf.. 

Magnaean Collection. Of them the Editor obtained 
copies ; and by the help of the one was enabled, 
reciprocally, to supply 4he imperfections of the 
other. He has since examined the originals 
themselves. The Fr. MS. relates, the following 
anecdote of Missel, at the^ coronation of Prince 
Magnus a.d. 1261. During Mass Missel the 
Knight Sitood up in the middle of the chdr, and 
wondered greatly at some ceremonies unusual at 
the coronation of Scottish kii^s. And when King 
Magnus was robed, and King Haoo and the Arch^ 
bishop touched him with the sword of state, the 
Scottish knight said, ''It was told me that there 
were no knights dubbed in this land; but I never 
beheld any, knight created with so much solem* 
nity as him whom two nobl^ lords have now- 
invested with the sword." 

The conjectures in my note on page 43 are 
confirmed by the following passage in the Fl. 
MS. "Then came there from the Western seas 
John the son of Dunqan, and Dugall the son of 
Rudra; and both of them solicited that King 
Haco would give them the title of king over the 
northern part of the Sudoreys. They were with 
the King all summer;" 

Preface. i i 

Antiquarians rinay be desirous of knowing some* 
thing- of the MSS. from which this work :has 
been taken, therefore, it was judged not improper 
to subjoin the following account of them. The 
Frisian MS. is a vellum quarto of the laigest size, 
in a beautiful hand, and the character fumbles 
that which prevailed in the end of the thirteenth 
century- The book of Flatey is a very lai^e 
vellum volume in folio, uid appears to have been 
compiled in the 14. age. It contains a collection 
of poems; excerpts from Adam Brebensis.; a 
dissertation on the first inhabitants of Norway ; 
the life of Eric the Traveller ; of Olave Trygvason ; 
of St. Olave J of the Earls of Orkney ; of Suerir ; 
of Haco the Aged ; of his son, Magnus; of Mag> 
nus the Good; of Harald the Imperious; of 
Einar Sockason of Greenland ; and of Olver the 
Mischievous; it contains also a general chrono* 
1<^ down to A.D. 1394, the year in which the 
MS. was completed. The work, from the life 
of Eric the Traveller to the end of St. Olave's 
history, inclusive, was writtten by John Thordrson 
the priest ; the rest by Magnus Thorvaldson, al^o a 
clergyman. The initial letters, in some places, are 

12 Preface. 

ornamented with historical miniature paintings. 
In page 35 there is a representation of the birth of 
Trygvason ; and, at the bottom of the leaf, there 
is a unicorn and a lion. 217, An archer shooting. 
272, Orme Storolfson carrying off a haycock. 
295, Haldan the Black beheading the Norwegian 
Princes ; one of them is represented on his knees, 
dressed in a red cap, a short doublet, and in red 
trousers reaching down to the middle of his legs. 
310, Three men armed with swords and battle- 
axes, despatching St. Olave at Sticklestadt ; at 
the bottom of the page a man killing a boar, and 
another fighting with a mermaid. 650, Haco 
creating Sculi a duke. Sculi is drawn with a 
garland or coronet, and receiving a sword, 
together with a book by which he is to swear. 
Most of the figures in these paintings are depicted 
in armour or mail ; their helmets are sometimes 
conical, sometimes like a broad -brimmed hat ; 
their defensive armour is generally a round target 
and a two-handed sword. This venerable volume, 
the noblest treasure of Northern literature now 
existing, though written in a very small character, 
and much abreviated, consists of 960 columns — 
two to every page. 

T?K flST^SW 




— ^a^^»^< — 

^T the time that King Haco' ruled over Nor- 
way, Alexander," the son of William, King 
of Scotland, was then King of Scotland. He was 
a great prince, and very ambitious of this world's 
praise. He sent, from Scotland in the Western 
Sea, two bishops to King Haco. At first they 
begged to know if King Haco would give up those 
territories in the Hebrides, ^ which King Magnus 

* This was Haco IV., the bastard son of Swerro. 
He began to reign in 1 207. — £. G. 

' Alexander H.— £. G. 

• Sudr-Eyiar (orig.) The Hebrides or Southern 
Division of the Scottish Islands, so called in contra- 
distinction to the Orkneys. 


Barefoot had unjustly wrested from Malcolm, 
predecessor to the Scottish King. The King said 
that Magnus had settled with Malcolm what dis- 
tricts the Norw^;ians should have in Scotland, or 
in the islands which lay near it. He affirmed, 
however, that the King of Scotland had no sove- 
reignty in the Hebrides at the time when King 
Magnus won them from King Godred.' And 
<also that King Magnus only asserted his birth- 
right. The commissioners then said that the 
King of Scotland was willing to purchase all the 
Hebrides from King Haco, and entreated him to 
value them in fine silver. The King replied, 
he knew no such urgent want of money as would 
oblige him to sell his inheritance. With that 
answer the messengers departed* From this 
cause some misunderstanding arose between the 
Kings. The Scottish Monarch, however, fre- 
quently laenewed the negotiation, and sent many 
proposals; but the Scots received no other ex- 
planation than what is here related. 


Alexander, King of Scotland, wished much for 
possession of the Hebrides. He had often sent to 
Norway to redeem them with money, and he did 

' Godred Ciirou-ban, i.r., the White-Handed, 
King of Man. 


SO tbiis summer. But when he could not purchase 
those ' territories of King Haco, he took other 
measures in hand which were not princely. 
Collecting forces thxoughout all Scotland, he pre- 
pared for a voyage to the Hebrides, and deter • 
mined to subdue those islands under his dominion^ 
He ma^ it manifest before his subjects that he 
would not desist till he had ^t his standard east 
on the cU£& of Thurso,' and had reduced under 
himself all the provinces which the Norwegian 
monarch possessed to the westward of the German 

King Alexander sent word to John, King of the 
Isles,3 that he wished to see him. But King John 
would not meet the Scottish king till four earls of 
Scotland had pledged their honour that he should 
return in safety whether any agreement was made 
or not. When the kings met, the Scottish mon- 
arch besought King John that he would give up 
Kiamabnrgh* into his power, and three other 

' Tharsa sker (orig.), /.e., the giant's rocks, Tharscr. 

* Solunder-haf (orig.), the Northern Ocean. So 
called from the Soloe Islands near that promontory of 
Norway called Stad. That species of sea-fowl which 
frequent the Bass probably received their name from 
being more commonly found in the Solund Isles. 

3 Epgan (in Gaelic, Eoin) Earl of Argyll.— £. G. 

♦ Kiarna-borg (orig.), Fl, MS. Kianaborg, from the 
Irish cantf a rock, and the Icelandic, hrg^ a castle. This 
castle was situated on a rocky islet near Mull. For- 
dun calls it Carnborg. 

i6 Norwegian Expedition 

castles which he held of King Haco ; as also, the 
other lands which King Haco had conferred upon 
him. The Scottish king added, that, if he would 
join him in good earnest, he would reward him 
with many greater estates in Scotland, together 
with his confidence and favour. All King John's 
relations and friends pressed him to assent. But 
he behaved well and uprightly, and declared that 
he would not break his oath to King Haco. On 
this King John went away, and stopped not at any 
place till he came quite north to Lewes.' 

King Alexander, then lying in Kiararey Sound,* 
dreamed a dream, and thought three men came to 
him. He thought one of them was in royal robes, 
but very stern, ruddy in countenance, somewhat 
thick, and of middling size. Another seemed of 
a slender make, but active, and of all men the 
most engaging and majestic. The third, s^ain, 
was of very great stature, but his features were 
distorted, and of all the rest he was the most un- 
sightly. They addressed their speech to the king, 
and enquired whether he meant to invade the 
Hebrides. Alexander thought he answered, that 

' Liod-hus, i.r., the residence of Liot. It is not 
unlikely that the isle of Lewes and the family of 
M'Leod were so named from Liod, Earl of Orkney. 

* Kiarareyiar, in the MSS. Kiarbareyiar, the isLsnd 
Kiararey (Karera, opposite Oban), where Alexander died 
suddenly, Jul. 8th, 1249. 

AGAINST Scotland. 17 

he certainly proposed to subject the islands. The 
genius of the vision bade him go back, and told 
him no other measure would turn out to his ad' 
vantage. The king related his dream, and many 
advised him to return. But the king would not, 
and a little after he was seized with a disorder, 
and died. The Scottish army then broke up, and 
they removed the king's body to Scotland. The 
Hebridians say that the men whom the king saw 
in his sleep were St. Olave, King of Norway; St. 
Magnus, Earl of Orkney ; and St. Columba. 

The Scotch took for their king Alexander, the 
son of King Alexander. He afterwards married 
the daughter of Henry, King of England, and be- 
came a great prince.' 


In summer there came, from Scotland in the 
west, an archdeacon, and a knight called Missel,' 
as envoys from Alexander, King of Scotland. 
They shewed more fair language than truth, as 
seemed to King Haco. They set out so abruptly 
on their return that none wist till they were under 
sail. The king' dispatched Briniolf Johnson 3 in 

' Alexander III. attained his majority in 1262 : he 
married Margaret, daughter of Henry III. — £. G. 

' Perhaps the author means Frissel, afterwards 
Bishop of St, Andrews ; or Michael, vi»,, de Wemyss, 
who was ambassador to Norway, a.d. i 290. 

3 More properly, Brynjulf Jonsson. — £. G. 

i8 Norwegian Expedition 

pursuit, and he detained them with him. The 
king dedand that they should remain that winter 
in Norway, because they had gone away without 
taking leave, contrary to what other envoys did.' 


In summer there came letters from the kings of 
the Hebrides in the western seas.' They com- 
plained much of the hostilities which the Earl of 
Ross,3 Kiarnach, the son of Mac-Camal, and other 

' Alexander complained of the treatment of his 
ambatiadon to Henry III. of England, who wrote on 
the 23 d of March 1262 to Haco on the subject. The 
ambassadors were released before i5th November of 
the same year, as is proved by letter* from' Henry to 
Haco, of that date, thanking him for tending them 
home. — £. G. 

' The letters referred to here were propably the 
ones written by Dugal M'Rory. (See Tmmtnfx Tram- 
Iation,)-^Z, G. 

3 Jirlin af Rot ok Kiarnakr son Makamals (orig.) 
The text here is much ndated. The author mi^t 
have read in some Irish accounts, Jarl na Ross (Wil- 
liam) M^erchar, M<Calom, /.r., the Earl of Ross 
(William) the son of Ferchard, the son of Malcolm. 
This William MacErchart was a young hero, and is 
corruptly call^ MacenUgart by the Scottish histo- 
rians. Or, perhaps, three persons may be alluded to, 
v<x., the Earl of Ross, Kinneach — son (of Kintail^ 
and a MacCamal of Lochaw, all powerful chieftains 
on ' the west coast df Scotland. It Is, however, not 
impossible that Kiarnak was tome ancient chieftain, 
from whom a branch of the Grants wm ciilled Clan- 
Chiarnach. The FL MS. for Makamals reads Macha- 


Scots committed in the Hebrides when they went 
out to Sky.' They burned villages, and churches, 
and they killed great, numbers, both of men and 
women. They affirmed, that the Scotch had ev^n 
taken the small children, and, raising them on the 
points of their spears, shook them till they fell 
down to their hands, when they threw them away 
lifeless on the ground.* They said also, that the 
Scottish king purposed to subdue all the Hebrides* 
if life was granted hhn. 

When King Haco heard these tidings, they gave 
him much uneasiness, and he laid the case before 
his council. Whatever objections were made, the 
resolution was then taken, that King Haco should 
in winter, about Christmas,^ issue an edict through 
all Norway, and order out both what troops and 
provisions he thought his dominions could possibly 
supply for an expedition. He commanded all his 
forces to meet him^'at Bergen about the b^inning 
of spring. 

' I Skid (orig.). In the Fl. MS. istrid, /.«., to war. 

' The inhuman practice here described was common 
in those times. From the Landnamaboc we learn 
that Olver first discouraged this custom. We read, 
Olver did not permit tossing infants from spear to 
spear, as was usual among pirates, and was therefore 
sumamed Barna-Kall, or the protector of infants. 

3 Jol (orig.). The great brumal festival among the 
Scandinavians. Hence the Scotch word Yule, /.«., 

20 . Norwegian Expedition 


Near the middle of Lent King Haco travelled | 

from Drontheim' to Orkadal, thence east through 
the mountains' to Bahus,^ and so eastwards to El- 
far^ to see Earl Birger,s according to an appoint- 
ment that they should meet at Liodhus in Easter 
week. But when King Haco came to Liodhus^ 
the Earl was already gone away, and so the King 
returned north to Bahus. 

King Haco arrived at Bergen on the day of the 
invention of the Cross. ^ He remained there dur- 
ing the spring, and proceeded in his preparations 
with great diligence. Prince Magnus,^ having 
given the necessary directions through Rygia- 
Alike' concerning the expedition and the equip- 

' Nid-ar-08 (orig.), i.e., the mouth of the river Nid, 
now Drontheim. 

' Doyrefield mountains. — £. G. 

3 Vikor (orig.), now Bahos, in Sweden. 

* £lfa, the river at Gottenburg. 

5 An earl of Sweden, and father-in-law to Haco the 

^ Liodhusa, a town of Sweden, demolished a.d. 

7 May 3. 

* The son of Haco. 

9 i,e.j the hilly country. Harald Harfager divided 
his kingdom into several counties, each of which was 
to fit out a squadron of ships on an emergency. The 
counties were again divided into sJdfrad<r^ or smaller 
districts, each of which furnished a single vessel pro- 
perly equipped. 

AGAINST Scotland. 21 

ment of the fleet, went to join King Haco. After 
that a great number of barons, and officers, and 
vassals, and a vast many soldiers, flocked in daily 
to the dpital. 

King Haco held a general council near Bergen, 
at Backa.' There the numerous host was assem- 
bled together. The King then declared concern- 
ing the expedition, that this whole army was 
intended against Scotland in the western seas, 
and to revenge the inroads which the Scotch had 
made into his dominions. Prince Magnus begged 
to command this expedition instead of King Haco, 
who should remain at home. He thanked him in 
many courteous words ; but he observed, that he 
himself was older, and had longer acquaintance 
with the western lands, and that, therefore, he 
himself would go this voyage. He, however, gave 
Prince Magnus full power to rule the nation in his 
absence. At this council he settled many regula- 
tions respecting the internal government of the 
country ; and he granted to the yeomanry, that, 
while he was away, no Sheriff" should decide on 
any cause, unless such cause was of the greatest 

During this voyage King Haco had that great 
vessel which he had caused to be constructed at 

' /.r, an eminence near Bergen. 

22 Norwegian Expedition 

Bergen. It was built entirely of oak, and con- 
tained twenty-seven banks of oars.' It was oma- 
metited with heads and necks of dragons beautil^ly 
overlaid with gold.' He had also many other well- 
appointed ships. 

In the spring King Haco sent John Langlifeson 
and Henry Scott^ west to the Orkneys, to pro- 
cure pilots for Shetland.^ From thence John 
sailed to the Hebrides, and told King Dugal that 
he n^ght expect an army from the east. It had 
been rumoured that the Scots would plunder ip 
the islands that summer ; King Dugal, therefore, 
spread abroad a report that forty ships were com- 
ing from Norway. And by this means he pre- 
vented the Scotch from making a descent. 

Some time before the king himself was ready, 
he sent eight ships to the westward. The cap- 
tains of these were Ronald Urka, Erling Ivarson, 
Andrew Nicolson, and Halvard Red.* They con- 
tinued some days out in the road, as the wind did 
not favour them.* 

' By banks of oars we are only to understand 
benches for the rowers. 
» This ship was called the <« Christsudcn."— E.G. 

3 Evidently a Scotchman. — £. G. 

4 The meaning of this sentence is that they were 
to procure pilots for the Scottish Seas, who were to 
join the expedition in Shetland. — £. G. 

5 Munch calls him Halvard Rand. — E. G. 

* These ships were intended for the support of 
Man.— E.G. 

AGAINST Scotland. 23 

When the king had prepared his ship, he re- 
moved all his army from the capital to Eidsvags;' 
afterwards he himself returned to the city, where 
he remained some nights, and then set out for 
Herlover." Here all the troops, both from the 
northern and southern districts, -assembled, as is 
described in. the Raven's Ode,^ which Sturla^ 
sung: — 


From the recesses, of Finland,s bands, 
keen for battle, sought the potent Ruler 
of the storm of javelins. The boisterous 
deep, that girds this earth, bore the ships 
of the Protector of thrones west from the 
streams of Gotelfa.* 

King Haco mustered all his force at Herlover. 
It was a mighty and splendid armament. The 


U^ Cape Bay, near Bergen. 
' An island and excelleat harbour near Bergen. 
Munch calls it ** Herdle-vaer."— E. G. 
3 The ** Ravnamual.** of Storla Thordtioen.— E. O. 

* A celebrated poet, uncle to Sigvat Bodvarson, wh<> 
attended Haco in this expedition, and from whom 
Sturla probably had his information of facts* 

5 The most northerly province of Norway.- 

* Or Gota.— E. G. 

24 Norwegian Scotland. 

king had many large and well-appointed ships, as 
is thus described : — 


No terrifier of dragons/ guardians of 
the hoarded treasure,' e'er in one place 
beheld more numerous hosts. The 
stainer of the sea-fowFs beak,' resolved 
to scour the main, far distant shores 
connected by swift fleets. 


A glare of light blazed from* the power- 
ful, far-famed monarch, while, carried by 
the sea-borne wooden coursers* of Ges- 
tils,* he broke to^ the roaring waves. The 

- - 

' i^.j no warrior. 

* The Scandinavian scalds and mythologists often 
represented treasures as yarded 1^ monsters, dragons, 
sea snakes, &c. This notion probably originated from 
the fabulous tales of those who trade to the Indies. 
An ancient author, speaking of Scythia, says — '* Nam 
quum in plerisque locis auro Sc gemmis affluant, Gry- 
phorum immanitate, accessus hominum rams est." 

3 />., Haco. 

♦ Rather «* u^on."— E. G. 
S /.«., ships. 

^ Gestil, a famous sea-king or pirate. 
7 Dashed through. — £. G. 

AGAINST Scotland. 25 

swelling sails, of keels that ride the surge, 
reflected the beams of the unsullied sun 
around the umpire of wars. 

Some nights after King Haco had arrived at 
Herlover, Ronald and Eriing sailed out of the 
bay with their squadron. Ronald was separated 
irom the rest at sea, and made for the Orkneys 
with some of the ships. But Eriing, and Andrew, 
and Halvard steered south before Shetland, and 
so to the west of Tharey-fiord,' and they saw no 
land except Sulna-Stapa' west of the Orkneys. 
Afterwards they sailed in to Scotland under Dyr- 
ne$s.3 They went up into the country, and de- 
stroyed a castle, but the garrison had fled. They 
burned more than twenty hamlets. Next they 
steered for the Hebrides, and found there Magnus, 
King of Man. 

Three nights before the Selian^ vigils ^ King 
Haco set sail for the German Sea with all his 

' Thareyiar-fibrd (orig.), perhaps a mistake for 
Faroeyiar-fibrd. Torfoes read it Barreyiarfiord. 

' Mr. Johnstone suggested that Subia Stapa meant 
Staflfa. It is more probable, from its being stated to 
be west of the Orkneys, that the Sulesker, a barren 
clifF, is intended. — £. G. 

3 />., the promontory of Deer, now Durnish. 

* The Scljumannaka. — £. G. 

5 7th of July. 


26 Norwegian Expedition 

fleet. He had now been King oi Norway six-and- 
forty winters.* He had a favourable breeze ; the 
weather was fair, and the armament beautifid to 
behold, as Sturlas relates. 


The abyss returned the flaming gleam 
of war, darted from die br^ht glittering 
concave shields of the goddesses of battle." 
This voyage, by the bands of the troubler 
of peace, through the sea that streams 
around the world, was unwelcome to the 
foe — ^they dreaded the exactor of rings.^ 

' The Norwegians computed by winters $ the Scotch 
did the same, as we see bjr Winton's Chronicle : — 
•* Thrctty winters and four than 
Edan regnyd Max Gowran.'^ 

* Vatdrosar (orig.^ the Goddesses of Fate ; or Val- 
kyriae, to whom armour was supposed sacred. 

3 i.€., tribute-ringa elldingon (orig.)^ bright rings. 
Ringa signify not only rings, or bracdets, but also 
money; for before the introduction of coinage into 
the north, very thick spiral gold wires were worn 
round the wrists of great men, who distributed bits to 
those who performed any signal service ; and such a 
wire is still to be seen in the Royal Museum at Copen- 
hagen. It is not always easy to discern when by ringa 
is understood ornaments for the fingers, bracelets, 
rings of investiture, or the current money of the 


King Hwpo bad a company particularly selected 
for bis own sbip» There were on tbe quarter- 
deck TfaorUfe, Abbot of Holm«' Sir Askatin," four 
priests, chaplains to the king, Andrew of This- 
sisey, Aslac Guss» tbe kinjg's master of tbe horse, 
Andrew Hawardson, Gatboru Gillason, and 
Thwstein, bis brother^ Eirek Scot Gautson, witb 
many others. There were on tbe main-deck As- 
lack Dagson« Steinar Herka, Klomit Langi, 
Andrew Gums» £ir«k Dugalson»3 the lather of 
King Dugal/ Einar Lang-biurd) Ambiorn Suela 
Sigvat Bodvarson,^ Hoskuld Oddson, John Hog 
lif, Arni Stinkar. On the fore-deck there were Si 
gurd, the son of Ivar Rofu, Ivar Helgason of Lofloc 
Erlend Scolbein, Dag of Southeim, Briniolf John 
son, Gudleik Sneis, and most of tbe king^s cbam 
berlains, witb Andrew Plytt, tbe king's treasurer 
There were in the fore-castle Eirek Skifa, Thorfin 
Sigvald, Kari Endridson, Gudbrand Johnson, and 
many of the cup-bearers, -in general, there were 
four men on eveiy half-row^ 's seat. With King 
Ilaco, Magnus, Earl of Orkney, left Bergen, and 

' /.«., the islet, a monastery near Bergen. 

* Afterwards chancellor of Norway. 

3 Probably the son of Dugal, the son of Somerled. 

* The father of King Dugal was Rery, I suppose. 
See Notes on pp. 9 and 18. 

s Nephew to Sturla, auth&r of the Raven's Ode. 
He attended Haco in this expedition. 

28 Norwegian Expedition 

the king gave him a good galley* These barons 
were also with the king, Briniolf Johnson, Pin 
Gausson, Erling Alfton, Erlend Red, Bard of 
Hestby, Eilif of Naustadale, Andrew Pott, Og- 
mund Krekidants, Erling Ivarson, John Drotning. 
Gaut of Meli, and Nicholas of Giska, were behind 
with Prince Magnus at Bergen, as were several 
other sea officers who had not been ready. Many 
approved commanders were, however, with King 
Haco, and of whom mention hath been made. 

King Haco, having got a gentle breeze, was 
two nights at sea, when he reached that harbour of 
Shetland called Breydeyiar Sound,' with a great 
part of his navy, as Sturla sings :— 


The leader of his people unmoored the 
ploughers of the ocean/ and raised aloft 
the expanded wings ^ of his sky-blue 
doves.* Our sovereign, rich in the spoils 
of the sea-snake's den,* viewed the retir- 

' Bretsa Sound, near Lerwick. — £. G. 
' /'.«., ships. 

3 i.«., sails. 

4 Bla-dufor (orig.), /.«., blue pigeons. The Scalds 
frequently compared ships under sail to birds, horses, 
and other animals in motion. 

s M,f gold. 

AGAINST Scotland. 29 

ing haven from the stem of his snorting 
steed,' adorned with ruddy gold. 

King Haco remained in Bredeyiar Sound near 
half a month, and from thence sailed to the Ork- 
neys, and continued some time at Elidarwic,' 
which is near Kirkwall. 3 There he declared 
before his men that he would divide his forces, 
^nd send one part south to the Firth of Forth ^ to 
pltmder. But he himself wished to remain in the 
Orkneys with the largest ships and greater part of 
the army. The vassals and retainers, however, 
spoke against this scheme, and made it evident 
that they would go nowhere unless with the king 
himself; so this proposed expedition was dropt. 

After St. Olave's'jwakeS King Haco, leaving 
Elidarwic, sailed south before the Mull^ of Ron- 
aldsha with all his navy. At this place King 
Haco was joined by Ronald from the Orkneys, 
with the ships that had followed him. King Haco 
next led the whole armament into Ronaldsvo, and 
lay there for some space. He then sent men over 

* /.«., ship. 

' The present Elweck. — E. G. 

3 Kirkio-vog (orig.], /.<., Church Bay. Kirkwall. 

* Breida-fiardar (orig.), Le, Broad Bay. The Firth 
of Forth. — JoAtutetu, Munch takes it to be the 
Murray Firth. — E. G. 

s St. Olave's Day, Tiily 29. 

^ Mula in Irish and Icelandic signifies a cape or beak. 

30 Norwegian Expedition 

to Cathness' to levy contribution. lie, on the 
one hand, proposed peace if the inhabitants would 
yield, but otherwise heavy punishment. The 
Cathnesians submitted to the tax, and King Haco 
appointed collectors to receive it, as is here inti- 


First our wise sovereign, the bestower 
erf peace, and defender of the northern 
thrones, imposed tribute, the ransom of 
life, on the dweller of the Ness." All its 
tribes were terrified by the steel-clad 
exactor of rings,^ and panic-struck at bis 
mighty power. 

While King Haco lay in Ronqldsvo a great 

darkness drew over the sun, so that only a Utile 


' Kata-nea (orig.\ i,^,, the promontory of Cadtav or 
Calhness. Cathness was particularly exposed to the 
inroads of the Norwegians. On this acconnt great 
numbers of the inhabitants retired into Murray and 
the adjacent counties, where they were afterwards 
known by the name of Clan-Chattan. 

* f .f., the promontory, or Cathness. 

3 Baug-gerdar (orig.]^ ;'.«., imposer of rings. Baug 
signifies anything circular, therefore, in compounded 
words, it is not easy to discern when it denotes rings 
or shields, &c. See Note on Ringa, p. z6. 


liag was bright round the stm,' and it continued so 
for some hours. ' 

On the day of St. Laurence's wake^ King 
Haco, having ordered the Orkney men to follow 
him as soon as th^ were ready, sailed over Pent- 
land Firth] ^ Eari Ma^^us, however-, staid behind. 
He was here informed that John DrotningS and 
Kolbein Aslacson, with the ships expected from 
the east, but which had been acddentally der 
tained, were arrived in the islands. King Haco 
then sailed with all his forces to a haven that is 
called Aslei&rvic,^ from that to Lewes, so on to 
Raasa, and from thence to that place in Skye 
Sound which is called Callach Stane.^ Here he 
was joined by Magnus, King of Man, and the re- 

' This statement proves how accurate is this 
account of the expedition, as it has been calculated 
that this Eclipse took place on the 5th August 1263, 
at 1.40 P.M., and was perfectly annular in the latitude 
of Ronaldsay. It also settles beyond doubt the year 
of the expedition. — E. G. » 

^ This eclipse happened on the 5th of Augiist 12^3. 

3 St. Laurence's wake or vigil, 9th of August, 

* Cathness by the ancient Britons was called Pentn, 
i,e.f the headland, whence the neighbouring firth had 
its name. 

s i./., John the Queen, perhaps the ancestor of the 

^ Asleifarvick (orig.). Fl. MS., Hals-cyiar-vic. 

7 !>., the old woman's rock. CaiUeack in Irish, and 
Kerfing in Icelandic, signify an old woman. 

32 Norwegian Expedition 

lations Erling Ivarson, Andrew Nicolson, And 
Ilalward. He next proceeded to the Sound of 
Mull/ and then to Kiararey, where King Dugal 
and the other Hebridians were assembled with all 
their troops. King Haco had now above an 
hundred vessels,' for the most part large, and all 
of them well provided both with men and arms. 

While King Haco remained at Kiararey he 
divided his forces, and sent fifty ships south to the 
Mull of Kintire^ to plunder. The captains ap- 
pointed over them were King Dugal, Magnus, 
King of Man, Briniolf Johnson, Ronald Urka, 
Andrew Pott, Ogmund Kraekidants, Vigleic 
Priestson. He also ordered five ships ^ for Bute; 
these were under the command of Erlend Red, 
Andrew Nicolson, Simon Stutt, Ivar Ungi Eyfari, 
and Gutthorm, the Hebridian, each in his own 

■ i^ the pramontory. This itland wat to called 
because, from its propinquity to the opposite shore, it 
appeaied like a cape. The old Venetian edition of 
Pliny has '^Mella xzv. mill. pau. amplior proditor ;" 
in the other copies it is ^Reliquarum nulla,'* &c. 
Hence the true reading appears to be, Reliquaram 

' The Scottish historians fix the number of ships at 
140. — £. G. 

3 Ken-tir, /.«., the promontory or peninsula in Scot- 
land, Kintire. 

4 Munch fixes the number at 15. — (See Teniteiit*s 
Tramhtim^ p. H-)— £• ^* 

AGAINST Scotland. 33 

King Haco sailed afterwards south to Gttdey, ' 
before Kintire, where he anchored. There King 
John met him; he came in the ship with Bishop 
Thorgill. King Haco desired him to follow his 
banner, as he should do. But King John excused 
himself. He said he had sworn an oath to the 
Scottish King, and held of him more lands than 
of the Norwegian Monarchy he therefore entreated 
King Haco to dispose of all those estates which 
he had conferred upon him. King Haco kept 
him with him some time, and endeavoured to in- 
cline his mind to fidelity. Many laid imputations 
to his charge. King Haco, indeed, had before 
received bad accounts of him from the Hebrides, 
for John Langlifeson came to the king, while he 
was sailing west from Shetland, and told him the 
news, that John, King of the Hebrides, breaking 
his £uth, had turned to the Scottish Monarch. 
King Haco, however, would not believe this till 
he had found it so. 

During King Haco's stay at Gudey, an abbot of 
a monastery of Greyfriars waited on him, b^^ing 
protection for their dwelling and Holy Church: 
and this the king granted them in writing. Friar 
Simon had lain sick for some time. He died at 

' U^ God's Island. I uke this to be Giga, or, as 
Fordon calls it, Gia, compounded of the Gaelic DMa^ 
God» and the Icelandic ^, an island. 


Gndey. His corpse was afterwards earned up to 
KiBtire, where the Gre3rftiars interred him in ^eir 
church. They spread a frilled pall over his 
grave, and called him a saint 

Ahout this time men came from King Dugal, 
and said that the Lords of Kintire, Margad' and 
Angus" (also proprietor ef Ila), were wUlmg to 
surrender the lands which they held to King Haco, 
and to order their dependants to join him. The 
king answered, that he would not lay waste the 
peninsula if they submitted on die following day 
beibre noon | if not, he gave them to understand 
he would ravage it. The inessenge^s returned. 
Next morning Margad came and gave up every- 
thing into the king's powers a little after Angus 
arrived, and likewise did the same. The king 
then said that, if they would enter into articles 
with him, he would reconcile them with the King 
of Scotland. On this they took an oath to King 
Haco, and delivered hostages. The king laid a 

' W^9 this Margad ^as ^oet 90t appear {f0B\ his- 
tory, I believe. 

'Angus, Lord of Kintire and Ha, was grandson 
and heir of Reginald, King of the Isles. His posterity 
succeeded to the county of Ross, and John, the second 
earl, a.d. 1449, gave to his brotlier, Hugh, the barony 
of Slate, &e. Lord McDonald, Baron of Slate, is the 
direct male representative of Reginald. 

AOAiNOT Scotland. 35 

fine of ft thousand head of cattle on their estates' 
Angus yielded up ila also to the king, and the 
king returned Ila to Angus upon the same terms 
that the other barons in the Hebrides enjoyed 
their lands ; this is recorded in the Raven's Ode. 


Our sovereign, sage in council, the im 
poser of tribute, and brandisher of the 
keen falchion, directed his long galleys 
thro' the Hebrides. He bestowed Ila, 
taken by his troops, on the valiant Angus, 
the generous distributor of the beauteous 
ornaments of the hand.' 


Our dareful king, that rules the mon- 
sters of the deep,^ struck excessive terror 
into all the regions of the Western Ocean. 
Princes bowed their head in subjection to 
the cleaver of the battered helm i be often 

' According to Munch, the number w<(8 1200 
headofcattk.— £. G. 
' f .r., rings or bracelets. 
3 />., ships. 

36 NotiwEGiAN Expedition 

dismissed the suppliants in peace, and 
dispelled their apprehensions of the waste- 
ful tribes. 

South in Kintire' there was a oastle held by a 
knight who came to wait on King Haco, and 
sunendered the fortress into his hands. The 
King conferred this castle upon Guthorm Backa- 

We must next speak of that detachment of the 
army, which the king had sent towards the Mull 
of Kintire to pillage. The Norwegians made a- 
descent there. They burnt the hamlets that were 
before them, and took all the effects that they 
6ould find. They killed some of the inhabitants; 
the rest fled where they could. But, when they 
were proceeding to the greater villages, letters 
arrived from King Haco forbidding them to 
plunder. Afterwards they sailed for Gudey to 
rejoin King Haco, as is here said. 


The openers of gushing wounds, un- 
daunted of soul, proceeded in the paths « 
of the famed Getis,' from the south round 
Kintire. Our heroes, rousers of the 

* Probably Donaverty. — E, G. 

' U^ the sea. 

3 A celebrated adventurer or sea king. 

AGAINST Scotland. 37 

thundering tempest of swords, glutted the 
swift, sable-clad birds of prey in Scotland. 

The wind was not favourable. King Haco, 
however, made Andrew Pott go before him south 
to Bute, with some small vessels, to join those 
he had already sent thither. News was soon 
received that they had won a fortress, the garrison 
of which had capitulated, and accepted terms of 
the Norwegians. There was with the Norwegians 
a sea-officer, called Rudri.' He considered Bute 
as his Birth-right; and because he had not 
received the Island of the Scotch he committed 
many ravages, and killed many people; and for 
that he was outlawed by the Scottish king. He 
came to King Haco, and took the oaths to him ; 
and with two of his brothers became his subjects. 
As soon as the garrison, after having delivered up 
the strong-hold, were gone away from the Nor- 

' Rudri or Ruari is the Irish abbreviation of 
Roderic. The person here meant is, no doubt, the 
second son of King Reginald, and the same who, in a 
donation to the abbey of Sandale, is styled Rodericus 
de Kintire fiiius Reginald!. This Roderic, it seems, 
besides Allan and Dougal, had another son, Angus 
M'Rorie, Lord of Bute, whose daughter and heiress 
Jean was married to Alexander, sixth Lord High 
Steward, grandfather to Robert II., King of Scotland. 
Robert, a.d. 1400, gave Bute to his son John, from 
whom the present family of Bute is lineally descended. 

38 Norwegian Expsdition 

w«giaiift» Rudri killed nine <^ them, because he 
thought that he owed them no goodwill. After- 
wards King Haco reduced the island, as is here 



The wide-extetided Bute was won from the 
forlorn wearers' of rings by the renowned 
and invinciUe troops of the promoter of 
conquest, — they wielded the two-edged 
sword — ^the foes of our Ruler dropt, and 
the Raven from his fields of slaughter, 
winged his flight for the Hebrides. 

The Norwegians who had been in Bute went to 

Scotland, where they burned many housed and 

several towns. Rudri, proceeding a great way, 

did all the mischief that he could, as is here 



The habitations of men, the dwellings 
of the wretched, flamed. Fire, the de- 
vourer of halls, glowed in their granaries. 
The hapless throwers of the daxt," fell 
near the Swan-frequented plain,3 while 

' i^^ the Scotch. 
^ U^ the Scotch 
3 i.«., the sea. 

AGAINST Scotland. 39 

south from our ioating pines ' marched a 
host of warriors; 

While King itaco was in the Hebrides, deputies 
came to him from Ireland intimating that the 
Irish' Ostmen Would submit to his power, if he 
would secure them from the encroachments of the 
English, who possessed all the best towns along 
the sea-coast. King Hado accordingly sent Sigurd 
the Hebridean> with some fast -sailing vessels, to 
examine on what terms the Irish invited him 

After this King Haco sailed south l^efore the 
Mull of Kintire with all his fleet, and Anchored 

' i.e,f ships. 

* Irar. (orig.), i.e, Iridi. As the native Irbh hfld 
sufFered bo much from the Scftttdinavians,^ it is im- 
probable they would apply for asMstance to the Shi 
Lock/in na beum. We may therefore reasonably con- 
clude that the people here mentioned were the 
descendants of those Norwegians or Ostmen, who 
long inhabited the eastern coast of Ireland, and founded 
some of its best towns. a.d. izoi, those Ostmen 
or Easterlii^s were still so considerable that, at a 
recognition taken of the diocese of Limerick, the 
arbitrators consisted of 12 English, and 12 Irish, and 
1% Ostmen. Edward L gave Gikhrist, William, uid 
John Gilmorys, with other Ostmen in the county of 
Waterford, peculiar privileges; and, by the rolls of 
Edward II. they evidently subsisted as a distinct 
people daring the reign of that prince. — ^Munch is of 
opinion, on the other hand, that they were de- 
scendants of the OXogMen or O'Neill races.-^E.G. 

40 Norwegian Expedition 

for some time in Arran Sound.' Then there 
came often Predicant, or Barefooted friars, from 
the Scottish Monarch, to King Haco, to sound 
him about a pacification between the two Sove- 
reigns. At this juncture also King Haco set 
King John at liberty; and bidding him go in 
peace, wherever he would, gave him several rich 
presents. He promised King Haco to do every- 
thing in his power to effectuate a peace between 
him and the Scottish King; and that he would 
immediately return to King Haco whenever he 
desired him. Soon after King Haco sent Gilbert, 
Bishop of Hamar, Henry, Bishop of Orkney, 
Andrew Nicolson, Andrew Plytt, and Paul Soor 
as envoys to treat about a peace with the King of 
Scotland. They went to the Scottish Monarch, 
and laid before him their overtures.^ He received 
them honourably, seemed inclined to a compromise, 
and said that such terms of accommodation as he 
would consent to, would be transmitted to King 
Haco. The commissioners departed; and the 
Scottish envoys arrived soon after. King Haco 
had ordered that all the Islands to the west of 
Scotland, which he called his, should be wrote 
down. The King of Scotland again had named 
all such as he would not relinquish. These were 

' The Harbour of Lamlath. — E. G, 
' Alexander was then at Norar^ or New Ayr. — 
E. G. 

AGAINST Scotland. 41 

Bute, Axran, and the two Cumbras;' as to other 
matters there was very little dispute between the 
Sovereigns; but, however, no agreement took 
place. The Scotch purposely declined any 
accommodation, because summer was drawing to 
a period, and the weather was becoming bad. 
Finding this, Haco sailed in, with all his forces, 
past the Cumbras. 

Afterwards an interview in Scotland was agreed 
upon for a reconciliation.' King Haco sent 
thither a Bishop and a Baron ; and to meet them 
came some knights and monks. They spoke 
much about an accommodation, but, at last, things 
ended the same way as formerly. Towards the 
conclusion of the day a greater number of Scots 
convened from the country than the Norw^ans 
thought were to be trusted. They, therefore, 
retiring to the ships, waited on the King, and told 
him their opinion. The generality advised him 
to declare that the truce was now ended, and to 
give orders to plunder, as the army was very short 
of provisions. 

King Haco, however, sent one of his courtiers, 
called Kolbein Rich, to the Scottish Monarch. 
He carried with him the Articles of pacification 
which the Scottish King sent to King Haco, and 

' Kumr-eyiar (orig.), ijt^ the islands of the Cum- 
brums, two small islands to the wett of Scotland. 
« At Kilbirnie.— £. G. 


42 Norwegian Exfrdjteon 

was commanded to bring back the propoaak 
wlucfa King Haco had sent to the King of Scotland. 
He was^ besides' to propose that the Sovereigns 
sboidd a«et with all their fofce»and treat about 
a peaoa* If that^ by the ^giaoe of God, • took 
place, it. iRa» very well; bat if it should turn out 
otherwise, then^Haco proposed to the I^ng of 
Scotland to fight, with their whole armies, and let 
him conquer whom God pleased. The Scottish 
Monarch seemed not .unwilling to fight, but h& 
gave no explanation. Kolbeint therefore, returned- 
back to his Sovereign, who appeared but little 
satisfied with his message; as is mentioned in 
the Raven'<s-ode. 


The eastern hero great in command, 
and ennobled by victory, repeatedly 
offered the decisive conflict of javelins to 
the enemy. The strangers, distrustftil of 
their strength, risked not the combat 
against our magnanimous Prince, wielder 
of the gleaming blade. 

The truce was now declared to be totally 
ended. The king accordingly sent sixty ships in to 


Loch-Long.* They were commanded by Magnus, 
King of Man, King Dugal,' and Allan, his 
brother, Angus, Margad, Vigleik Priestson, and 
Ivar Holm. When they came into the inlet they 
took their boats, and drew them^ up to a 
great lake which is called Loch-Lomond. On 
the far side xound the lake was an Earldom called 
Lennox.^ In the lake there were a great many 


' Skipa-fiord in Icelandic, and Loch-Lhong, in 
Gaelic, s^iiies the Bay of Ships. 

' Allan and Dougal, his brother, were, I imagine, 
the sons of Rudri (see the note o^ page 37)^ This 
Allan we may suppose to be the same who, in Rymer's 
Fdederay is called ^ Alamis filius Rotherici," who a.d. 
1284 was one of the Barons that engaged to support 
Margaret «f Norway's title to the Crown of Scot- 
land. Dugal was probably the predecessor of M'Dougal 
of Dunoly, ;>., Olave's Tower. The place might 
receive this name from having been the residence of 
Olave, the youngest son of Somerled, thane of Argyle. 

3 To avoid long or dangerous circumnavigations, it 
was usual for the ancients to draw their light canoes 
over isthmuses. Among the Greeks such places were 
termed 8ioA.#(6l, f.«., dragging places, and there was 
a very remarkable one near Corinth. By the Scotch 
they were called Tarbats, from the Gaelic tarn to 
draw, and boat a boat. There is a Tarbat between 
Loch Lomond and Loch Long, and one on Loch 
Fyne.-rE. G. 

4Alwin M'Arkeif as appears from the Chartulary 
of Glasgow, was created Earl of Levnach by Maol-. 
Coluim IIII., A.O. 1 1 53. 

44 No&wfiGiAN Expedition 

islands well inhabited ;' these islands the 
Norw^;ians wasted with fire. They also burned 
all the buildings about the lake, and made great 
^ devastation, as Sturlas relates. 



The persevering shielded warriors of 
the thrower of the whizzing spear' drew 
their boats across the broad isthmus. Our 
fearless troops, the exactors of contribu- 
tion, with flaming brands wasted the popu- 
lous islands in the lake, and the mansions 
around its winding bays. 

Allan, the brother of King Dngal, marched far 
over into Scotland, and killed great numbers of 
the inhabitants. He took many hundred head of 
cattle, and made vast havoc, as is here 


Our veterans fierce of soul, feeders of 
wolves, hastened their wasteful course 
through the spacious districts of the 
mountains. Allan, the bravest of mortals, 

^ No doubt the neighbooring inhabitants retired to 
the isles of Loch-Lomond in times of danger. 
^ f.e.f Haco. 

AGAINST Scotland. 45 

at the fell interview of battle, often wreaked 
his fatal vengeance on the expiring foe. 

Afterwards the Norwegians retired to their 
^eet, and met with so violent a storm that it 
dashed in pieces about ten of their ships in Loch- 
Long.' At this time Ivar Holm was seized with 
an acute disease, which occasioned his death. 

King Haco, as was before written, still lay in 
the Hebrides. Michaelmas fell on a Saturday j 
and, on the Monday night after, there came a 
great tempest with hailstones and rain." The 
watch on the forecastle of the king's ship called 
out, and said that a transport vessel was driving 
full against their cable. The sailors immediately 
sprung upon deck; but the rigging of the trans- 
sport getting entangled in the king's ship, carried 
away its beak. The transport then fell aboard in 
such a manner, that the anchor grappled the cord- 
age of the king's ship, which then b^an to drag 
its anchors. The king, therefore, ordered the 
cable of the transport to be cut, which was accord- 
ingly done. It then drove out to sea, but the 
king's ship remained sted&st, and continued un- 

' October ist and znd, 1 263. — E. G. 

' The same storm which had destroyed the ten 
ships on Loch Lomond. — £. G. 

46 Norwegian Expedition 

covered' till dayl^^ht. On the mormng, the 
transport floated with the tide, and, together with 
a galley, was cast ashore on Scotland. The wind 
gradually increasing, the crew of the king's ship 
got more cables, and dropt a fifth anchor. The 
king himself then took to his long-boat, and rowing 
out to the islands, ordered mass to be sung." The 
fleet in the meantime was forced up the channd ; 
and the tempest that day was so furious that some 
vessels cut away their masts, others ran aground. 
The king's ship also drove into the Sound, tho' 
seven anchors, including that taken from the 
transport, had been used. They then let go an 
eighth, which was the sheet anchor ; the ship still 
drove, but the anchors at length took fast hold. 
Five vessels were cast ashore. So great was this 
storm that people said it was raised by the power 
of magic, and the quantity of rain was prodigious, 
as is thus described : — 


Now our deep-enquiring sovereign en- 
countered the horrid powers of enchant- 
ment, and the abominations of an impious 

' i,e.f without an awning. — Johnstone. Munsch 
gives it as ** without yards," those of tht king's ship 
having been carried away by the transport. — £. G. 

' As no human power could assist them. — £. G, 


race. The troubled flood tore many fair 
gallies from their moorings, and swept 
them anchorless before its waves. 


A magic-raised watery tempest blew 
upon our warriors, ambitious of conquest, 
and against the floating hiabitations' of the 
brave. The roaring billows and stormy 
blast threw shielded companies of our 
adventurous nation on the Scottish strand. 

Wben the Scotch saw that the vessels had run 
aground, they assembled together, and; advancing 
against the Norwegians, attacked thepi with mis- 
sile weapons.' They, however, defended •them- 
selves gallantly under cover of their ships; the 
Scotch made several. attempts, at different times, 
but killed few, tho' many were wounded. King 
Haco, as the wind was now somewhat abated, 
sent in some boats with a reinforcement, as is here 
mentioned : — 


The victorious breaker of gleaming 

' i^,f ships. 
° The Scotch army was encamped at Camphill, 
between Kilbirnie and Largs. — £. G. 

48 Norwegian Expedition 

weapons, attendve of soul, then sent his 
bands to the hard-fought field, where 
breast-plates rang. Our troops, by the 
slaughter of the suspicious foe, established 
their monarch's fame, villified by the 
dwellers of the vallies. * 

Afterwards the sovereign himself, attended by 
Thorlaug Bosi, set sail in a barge belonging to 
the Masters of the Lights. ' As soon as the king's 
men approached the land the Scotch retired ; and 
the Norw^[ians continued ashore all night. The 
Scotch, however, during the darkness, entered the 
transport,^ and carried off as much of the lading 
as they could. On the morning, the king with a 
numerous reinforcement came on shore; and he 
ordered the transport to be lightened, and towed 
out to the ships. 

In a little time, they descried the Scottish army, 
and it was so numerous that they supposed the 
King of Scotland was present* Ogmund Kraeki- 

' /.«., the Scotch. 

^ Kerti-sveina (orig.), <*.«., Inspectors of the Lights, 
who were to see that the Norwegian palace was pro- 
perly illuminated. • The office corresponded exactly to 
the CanhowUyd of the Welsh Princes. 

3 In the Fl. MS. the Norw^ans are said to have 
entered the transport. 

* This does not seem to have been the case ; the 
army being commanded by Alexander of Duodonald, 

AGAINST Scotland. 49 

dants with his company was stationed on a hill. 
The Scottish van skinnished with his men ; and, 
their main body coming on, the Norwegians en- 
treated the king, as they were anxious for his 
safety, to row to his fleet and to send them help. 
The king insisted on remaining on shore ; but they 
would not assent to his continuing any longer so 
exposed ; he, therefore, sailed out in a barge to 
his ships at the Cumbras. The following barons 
remained on land : — Lord Andrew Nicolson, Og- 
mund Krsekidantz, Erling Alfson, Andrew Pott, 
Ronald Urka, Thorlaug Bosi, Paul Soor. The 
whole number of soldiers with them was eight or 
nine hundred. Two hundred men were upon the 
rising ground with Ogmund ; but the rest of the 
troops were posted down upon the beach. 

The Scottish army now advanced, and it was 
conjectured to consist of near fifteen hundred 
knights.' All their horses had breast-plates ; and 
there were many Spanish steeds in complete 
armour. The Scottish king had, besides, a nume- 
rous army of foot soldiers, well accoutred. They 
generally had bows and spears. 

The Norw^[ians on the hill, apprehensive of 

Steward of Scotland, grandfather to the Walter 
Stewart or Stuart, who married a daughter of Robert 
Bruce, and founded the royal house of Stuart. — ^£. G. 
' Fl. MS., five hundred. This is the most correct 
estimate. Munsch puts the Scotch cavalry down at 
60Q.— E, G. 


being surronnded, began to retire in scattered 
parties towards the sea. Andrew Nicolson, ol>- 
serving this, came up to the rising ground, and 
desired Ogmund to draw off his men towards the 
beach, but not to retreat so precipitately as if he 
fled. The Scotch at thb time attadced them 
furiously with darts and stones. Showers of 
weapons were poured upon the Norw^;ians, who 
defended themselves, and retired in good.ordev< 
But when they approached the sea, each one 
hurrying fasta than another, those on the beach 
im^ned they were routed. Some therefore 
leaped into their boats, and pushed off from the 
land, others jumped into the transport. Theai 
companions called upon them to return, and some 
returned, tho* few. Andrew Pott leaped over two 
boats, and into a third, and so escaped from land. 
Many boats went down, and some men were lost, 
and the rest of the Norwegians at last wheeled 
about towards the sea. 

Here Haco of Steini, one of King Haco's house- 
hold, fell. The Norwegians were then driven 
south from the tran^>ort, and were headed by 
Andrew Nicolson, Ogmund Krsekidants, Thorlaug 
Bosi, and Paul Soor. There soon began a severe 
contest, tho* very unequal, as ten Scots fou^t 
against each Norwegian. Among the Scotch 
there was a young knight called Ferash,' equally 

* Peras or Pherus (orig.), probably Fergus. — John- 

AGAINST Scotland. 51 

distinguished for his birth and fortune. He wore 
a helmet plaited with gold, and set with predous 
stones, and the rest of his armour was of a piece 
with it. He rode gallantly up to the Norwegians, 
but no other ventured. He galloped frequently 
along the Norwegian line, and then back to his 
own followers. Andrew Nicolson had now reached 
the Scottish van. . He encountered this, illusbrioiiis 
knight, and struck at his thigl^ with such force that 
he cut it off,' through the armour, with his sword, 
which penetrated to the saddle. The Norw^;ians 
stript him of his beautiful belt.' The hardest 

STONK. Munsch gives his name as Peter of Curry. — 
E. G. 

' A quotation from Giraldus's account of the Irish 
will both illustrate this passage and the antient method 
of fighting. ''Utuntur — securibus quoque amplis, 
fabrili diligentia optime chalybatis, quas a Norwegien- 
sibus et . Oustmannis sunt mutuati. Una tantum 
manu, et non ambabus, securi percutiunt, pollice 
desuper manubrium in longum extenso ictu regente, a 
quo nee galea, caput, in conum erecta, nee reliquum 
corpus ferrea loricae tricatura toetur. Unde et in 
nostris contigit temporibus totam militis coxam ferro 
utcunque fideliter vestitam, uno securis ictu praecisam 
fuisse, ex una equi parte coxa cum tibia, ex altera 
verd^ corpore cadente moribundo. Lapides quoque 
pugillarea, cum alia arma defecerint, hostibus in con- 
flictu damnosissimos, prae alia gente promptius, et 
expeditius ad manum habent." 

' Knights at their creation were invested with belts 
ornamented with gems. See Malmsb., book 2, chap. 6. 

$2 Norwegian Expedition 

conflict then commenced. Many fell on both 
sides, bat more of the Scotch, as Sturlas sings. 


Where cuirasses rung, our generous 
youths, formed in a circle, prostrated the 
illustrious givers of bracelets. The birds 
of prey were gluttonously filled with life- 
less limbs. What great chieftain shall 
avenge the fate of the renowned wearer of 
the Belt ? 

During the battle there was so great a tempest 
that King Haco saw no possibility of bringing the 
army ashore. Ronald, and Eilif of Naustadale, 
however, with some men, rowed to land, and 
greatly distinquished themselves ; as did those 
troops who had before gone out in their boats. 
Ronald, in the end, was repulsed to his ships ; but 
Eilif behaved most heroiodly. The Norwegians 
now began to form themselves anew ; and the 
Scotch took possession of the rising ground. There 
were continued skirmishes with stones and missile 
weapons; but towards evening the Norwegians 
made a desperate charge against the Scotch on 
the hill, as is here recorded. 

AGAINST Scotland. 53 


The champions of Nordmaera's* Lord 
saluted the stout, hamassed Barons, with 
the rough music of battle. The train of 
the supporter of thrones, courageous, and 
clad in steel, marched to the din of clash- 
ing swords. 


At the conflict of corselets on the blood- 
red hill, the damasked blade hewed the 
mail of hostile tribes, ere the Scot, nimble 
as the hound, would leave the field to the 
followers of our all-conquering king. 

The Scotch then left the eminence, and fled 
where they could, away to their mountains. The 
Norwegians perceiving this, retired to their 
boats, and rowing out to their ships, luckily 
escaped the storm. On the morning they came 
back in search of the bodies of those who had 
dropt. Among the dead were Haco of Stetni,' 
and Thorgisl Gloppa, both belonging to King 
Haco's household. There fell also a worthy vassal 

* A district of Norway. 
^ He was chaplain to King Haco. — ^E. G. 

54 Norwegian Expedition 

called Karlhoved, from Drontheim, and another 
vassal named Halkel, from Fiorde. Besides, there 
died three Masters of the Lights, Thorstein Bat, 
John Ballhoved, and Halward Buniard. It ■ was 
impossible for the Norwegians to tell how many 
were killed of the Scotch, because those who 
dropt were taken up and removed to the woods. 
King Haco ordered his dead to be carried to a 

Five days after. King Haco commanded his 
men to weigh anchor and to bring his ship dose 
under the Cumbras. He was soon joined by -the 
squadron which had been in Loch-long. On the 
fast day following, the weather was good, and the 
king sent some retainers ashore to bum the vessels 
which had been stranded^ that same day the king 
sailed past Cumbra to Melansey,' where he lay 
some nights. 

Here he was met by the Commissioners he had 
sent to Ireland, who assured him that the Irish 
Ostmen would willingly engage to maintain his 
army till he ficeed them from the dominion of the 
English. King Haco was- extremely desirous of 
sailing for Ireland, and, ^ the wind was not 
favourable, he held a Council on the subject, but 
the whole army was against this plan. He, there- 
fore, told them that as he was short of provisions 

' Mehmseiar (ortg.) Fl. MS. MeUs eyiar, perhaps 
the island of Lamlash or AiUa. 

AGAINST Scotland. 55 

he would steer for 'the Hebrides. The king then 
ordered the body of Ivar Hoim to be carried to 
Bute, where it ^as interred. 

Afterwards King Haco sailed past Melansey, 
and lay some nights near Arran, then proceeded 
to Sandey, and so to the Miill of Kintire, and at 
night h^ arrived north at Gudey ; next he sailed 
out to Ila Sound, where he remained two nights. 
King Haco laid a contribution, rated at three 
hundred head of cattle, on the island, but part 
was to be paid in meal, part in cheese. Haco set 
sail again on the first Sunday of winter, and met a 
fog and a storm so violent that few of the ships 
could carry their sails. The king, therefore; made 
for Kiararey, and about this time messengers 
passed between him and King John, but to little 
purpose. Here the king was informed that his 
troops had made depredations in Mull, and that 
some of the Mull men, with two or three Norwe- 
gians, had been killed. 

King Haco next sailed in to the Calf of Mull,' 
where he stayed some nights. There King Dugal 
and Allan, his brother, took leave of the king, 
who gave them those estates which King John 
formerly possessed — Magnus, King of Man, and 
other Hebridians had returned home before. He 

' Mylar-Kalf (orig.)» Among^ the Norwegians a 
small island adjoining to a greater was called its calf, 
as the Calf of MuU, the Calf of Man, &c. 

56 Norwegian Expedition 

gave Bute to Rudri, and Arran to Margad. To 
King Dugal he gave the castle in Kintire which 
Gttthorm Backa-Kolf had besi^ed and taken dur- 
ing the summer. In this expedition King Haco 
regained all those provinces which King Magnus 
Barefoot had acquired and conquered from the 
Scotch and Hebridians, as is here narrated.' 


The Lord of Egda' soon recovered all 
those territories on the Continent which 
had been subjected by the Scottish tribes. 
In the western regions none durst contend 
with the offspring of Ingui.^ His army, 
like a gathering tempest, indicated desola- 
tion to the dominions of his imperious 

King Haco, leaving the Calf of Mull, sailed to 
Rauney.^ Here he overtook Balti, a vassal of 
Shetland, with those who had been sent to the 

' A Scotch Record, the Mdrou Chromcle^ states that 
King Haco said it was the hand of God, and not the 
Scotch, that compelled him to retire. He alluded to 
the storm that had so damaged his ships. — £, G. 

' A subdivision of Norway. 

3 Yngua (orig.), one of Haco's predecessors. 

« Raasa.— £. G. 

AGAXNSt Scotland. 57 

Orkqeys» and to whom a permusion had been 
pyen of retonung to Norway. King Haco from 
Raaney steered northwards. The wind being un- 
favourable, he made for Westerford, in Sky, and 
ordered the islanders to supply him with provtsions. 
Next he sailed past Cape Wrath,' and arriving at 
Pymess, there happened a calm, for which reason 
the king ordered the fleet to be steered into Gia- 
fordt' This was done on the feast of the two 
apostles, Simon and Jude,^ which fell on a Sun- 
day. The king spent the night there. On this 
festival, after mass had been sung, some Scots, 
whom the Norwegians had taken prisoners, were 
presented to the king* The king detained one a$f 
a hostage, and sent the others up the country, at 
liberty, on giving a promise that they would re- 
turn with cattle. On the same day it happened 
that nine men belonging to Andrew Biusa's ship 
went ashore to procure water, and an outcry was 
soon heard firom the mainland. The crew, there- 
forci immediately setting off from their ships* 
found two men swimming, though badly wounded, 
and took them on board; the other seveni nn- 
armedt and incapable of making any defence, 
renuuned by their boat (which was left aground 
by the tide), and were killed hy the Scotch, The 

■ ,.-■ II ^ ■» ■ ■■■■■^ - , B,^ ■Will... 

' Hvarf rorig.]| signifies ^n intervening ridge ihfit 
intercepts tne prospect — Farohead. 

> Oiafi'ord (orig.). Fl. Ml, Got-Aord. Probably 
Loch Bribol— £• C. 3 October 28. 


58 Norwegian Expedition 

Norwegians landii^, carried away their dead ; and 
the Scotch, in the meantime, fled to a wood. On 
the Monday, King Haco sailed from Giaford after 
having liberated the Scottish hostage, and sent 
him ashore. The king in the evening reached the 
Orkneys, and anchored in a certain Sound, to the 
north of Asmundsvo,' from whence he, with the 
greatest part of his fleet, steered for Ronaldsvo. 
In passing over Pentland Firth, a terrible 
whirlpool appeared, and in which a ship from 
Rygia-iylke, with all on board, perished. John 
of Hestby was driven through the straits, and 
was very near being swallowed up in the gulf; 
but, by the mercy of God, his ship was forced east 
to the ocean, and he made for Norway. 

While King Haco remained in the Orkneys the 
most part of his troops sailed to Norway ; some 
went with the King's permission, but others took 
leave for themselves. King Ilaco, on his arrival 
at the islands, had at first given out that he would 
return immediately to Norway ; but, as it was a 
long time before the wind favoured him, he deter- 
mined to winter in the Orkneys. He, therefore, 
named twenty ships that were to remain with him, 
and dismissed the rest. All the vassals stayed 
with him, except Eilif of Naustadale ; he sailed 
home. Most of the gentry, however, continued 
with their Sovereign. The king then despatched 
totters to Norway, concerning the necessaries he 
' Afmundar-vogi (orig.), i.e,f Asmund's Bay. 

AGAINST Scotland, 59 

should want. After All Saints Day, the King 
steered for Medalland' harbour; but spent one 
day at Ronaldsha. 

On the Saturday before Martimmas, King Haco 
rode to the port of Medalland, and after mass he 
was taken very ill. He was aboard his ship 
during the night ; but, on the morning, he ordered 
mass to be sung on shore. He afterwards held a 
council to deliberate where the vessels should be 
laid up ; and ordered his men to be attentive, and 
see after their respective ships. Upon this each 
captain took the charge of his own galley. Some 
were laid up in the harbour of Medalland, and 
others at Skalpeid.' 

Next King Haco proceeded to Skalpeid, and 
then rode to Kirkwall. He, with such officers as 
dined at his table, lodged in the Bishop's palace. 
Here the King and the Bishop kept separate 
tables in the hall, each for his own retinue ; but 
the King dined in the upper story. He ordered 
certain districts to furnish his nobility and house- 
hold with provisions. Andrew Plytt had the 
inspection of the king's table, and delivered out 
to the courtiers, retainers, masters of the lights, 
and other attendants, their usual allowance. After 
the proper arrangements were taken concerning 
the disposal of the fleet, the different captains 
went whither their ships were laid up. The 

' Probably some harbour of Mainland, one of the 
Orkneys. ' A cape of Pomona — Scapa. — £v G. 


6o NoitwsotAN Expedition 

iMttdiiswho remained at Kirkwall wero Btiniolf 
Johnston, Erling Alfsooi Ronald Urka» Eiling of 
Birkey, John Drotning, and Erlend Red. The 
other barons repaired to their proper districts* 

King Haoo had spent the summer in much 
watchfulness and anxiety. Being often called to 
deliberate with his captains, he had enjoyed little 
rest, and when he arrired at Kirkwall, he was 
confined to his bed by his disorder. Having lain 
for some nightS) the illness abated, and he was on 
foot for three days. On the first day he walked 
about in his apartments; on the second, he at- 
tended at the bishop's chapel to hear mass ; and 
on the third, he went to Magnus's Church, atid 
walked round the shrine of St. Magnus, E^l of 
Orkney. He then ordered a bath to be prepared, 
and got himself shaved. Some nights after he re- 
lapsed, and took again to his bed. During his 
sickness, he ordered the Bible and Ladn authors 
to be read to him. But finding his spirits Were 
too much fatigued by reflecting on what he had 
heard, he desired Norwegian books might be read 
to him night and day ; first the lives of saints, and, 
when they were ended, he made his attendants 
read the Chronicles of our Kings from Haldan the 
Black, and so of all the Norwegian monarchs in 
succession, one after the other. The king still 
found his disorder increasing. He, therefore 
took into consideration the pay to be given to his 
troops, and commanded that a mark of fine silver 

AGAINST Scotland. 6i 

should be given to each conrtier, and half a mark 
to each of the masters of the lightly chamberlains, 
and other attendants on his person. He ordered 
all the ungilt plate belonging to his table to be 
weighed, and to be distributed if his plain silver 
fell short* At this time also letters were wrote to 
Prince Magnus concerning the government of the 
nation, and some things which the king wanted to 
have settled respecting the army. King Haco re- 
ceived extreme unction on the night before the 
festival of St. Lucia*' Thorgisl, Bishop of Stav- 
anger, Gilbert, Bishop of Hamar, Henry, Bishop 
of Orkney, Abbot Thorleif, and many other learned 
men were present) and, before the unction, all 
present bode the king farewell with a kiss. He 
still spoke distibctly» and his particular favourites 
asked him if he left behind him any other son than 
Prince Magnus, or any other heirs that should 
share in the kingdom* but he uniformly persisted 
that he had no other heirs in the male or female 
line than what were publicly known. 

When the histories of all the kings down 
to Suerer had been recited, he ordered the Ufe of 
that prince to be read, and to be continued night 
and day, whenever he found himself indisposed 
to sleep* 

The Festival of the Virgin St. Luda happened 
on a Thursday, and on the Saturday after» the 

' December 13. — Johnstonk. St. Luke^ according 
to Tennent (Dec. isth).—£. G. 

62 Norwegian Expedition 

King's disorder increased to such a degree that he 
lost the use of his speech ; and at midnight 
Abnig^ty God called King Haco out of this 
mortal life. This was matter of great grief to all 
those who attended; and to most of those who 
heard of the event. The following Barons were 
present at the death of the king, Biiniolf John- 
son, Erling Alfton, John Drottning, Ronald 
Urka, and some domestics who had been near 
the king's person during his illness. Immediately 
on the decease of the king, bishops and learned 
men were sent for to sing mass. Afterwards all 
the company went out except Bishop Thorgisl, 
Briniolf Johnson, and two other persons, who 
watched by the body, and performed all the 
sendees due to so illustrious a lord and prince as 
King Haco had been. On Sunday the royal 
corpse was carried to the upper hall, and laid on 
a Het, The body was clothed in a rich g^b, with 
a garland on the head, and dressed out as became 
a crowned monarch. The Masters of the Lights 
stood with tapers in their hands, and the whole 
hall was illuminated. All the people came to see 
the body, which appeared beautiiiil and animated, 
and the king's countenance was as fair and ruddy 
as while he yns alive. It was some alleviation of 
the deep sonow of the beholders to see the corpse 
of their departed Sovereign so decorated. High 
Mass was then sung f<^ the deceased. The 
nobility kept watch by the body during the night. 

AGAINST Scotland. 63 

On Monday the remains of King Haco were 
carried to St. Magnus' Church, where they lay in 
state that night. On Tuesday the royal corpse 
was put into a coffin, and buried in the choir of 
St. Magnus's Church, near the steps leading to 
the Shrine of St. Magnus, Earl of Orkney. The 
tomb was then closed, and a canopy was spread 
over it. It was also determined that watdi 
should be kept over the king's grave all winter. 
At Christmas the bishop and Andrew Plytt 
furnished entertainments, as the king had directed, 
and good presents were given to all the soldiers. 

King Haco had given orders that his remains 
should be carried east to Norway, and buried 
near his father and relations. Towards the end of 
winter, therefore, that great vessel which he had 
had in the west was launched, and soon got ready. 
On Ash Wednesday the corpse of King Haco was 
taken out of the ground ; this happened on the 
third ot the nones of March. The courtiers fol- 
lowed the corpse to Skalpeid, where the ship lay, 
and which was chiefly under the direction of 
Bishop Thorgisl and Andrew Plytt. They put to 
sea on the first Saturday in Lent ; but meeting 
with hard weather, they steered for Silavog. 
From this place they wrote letters to Prince 
Magnus acquainting him with the news, and then 
set sail for Bergen. They arrived at Laxavog* 
before the festival of St. Benedict.* On that day 
' /.«., Salmon Bay. ' March ai. 

64 Expedition against Scotland. 

Prince Magnus rowed out to meet the corpse. 
The ship was brought near to the king's palace, 
and the body was carried up to a summer«house. 
Next morning the corpse was removed to Christ 
Church, and was attended by Prince Magnus, the 
two queens, the courtiers, and the town's people. 
The body was then interred in the choir of Christ 
Church I and Prince Magnus addressed a long and 
gracious speech to those who attended the funeral 
procession. All the multitude present expressed 
great sorrow of mind, as Sturlas says : — 


Three nights did the brave warriorsi 
the flower of chivalry, continue at Bergen, 
ere they entombed their wise and glorious 
prince. The breakers of tempered metals 
stood crowding around the grave of the 
ruler of the nation, while in their swim- 
ming eyes appeared no look of joy. Then 
commenced those bloody feuds which till 
our days have reigned. 

King Haco was buried three nights before the 
festival of the annunciation of the Virgin Mary ; 
and after the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ 
one thousand two hundred ajad sixty-three years. 






i _..